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Amelie Jacquet on preserving her family business Remy Martin

Time:2020-03-02 14:32wine - Red wine life health Click:


A childhood spending summers among her family’s Remy Martin vineyards in the Cognac region of France gave Marie-Amelie Jacquet a deep appreciation for her family’s history. She speaks to Susan Lingeswaran about seeking her own path and coming back into the family fold.

In 1881, the very first shipment of the finest and most exclusive cognac in the world landed on the shores of India. Not just one or two, but 45 cases of Remy Martin’s Louis XIII, created in 1874 and earmarked by the trading company Ernsthausen and Oesterley, were carefully offloaded at the Port of Calcutta before the ship sailed off towards Madras and Bombay.

From there, no-one knows what happened to the precious consignment—whether the bottles found their way to the homes of the rich or royal, or were hidden away in one of the countless palaces of the hundreds of princely states of India. They were all but forgotten.

Remy Martin logo

Fast forward to 2015— Remy Martin’s 140th anniversary—and the family behind the French cognac producer was about to receive an unexpected call that would bring this historic shipment to the fore.

Christophe Bourrie, Remy Martin’s ambassador for the South-East Asia, India and Middle East regions had been doing the rounds and discovered some clients had been storing historic Louis XIII cognac bottles from as long as the 1940s. Was there someone out there who had an even older bottle, Bourrie wondered? The only way to find out was to ask the family that has owned the brand for generations.

It was Marie-Amelie Jacquet who got the call. The 41-year-old is a fourth generation member of the Heriard Dubreuil family, which has run the Remy Martin cognac house for more than 90 years. Fascinated by her family’s history, having only joined the business five years earlier as a financial controller, Jacquet proposed an idea to look at the records of the company to see when the first bottles of Louis XIII were shipped to the region.

Scouring through archives, she not only found the famed Indian shipment, but shipping documents related to a consignment to Penang and two shipments of 30 bottles arriving in Singapore—both in 1881. Looking further back, she found the Remy Martin Company started exporting their first cases in 1875 to Scandinavia and Australia. 

Determined to keep history alive, Jacquet shared the story with the public and launched a global search for the oldest decanters of its prized beverage and the stories behind them—a search which continues today. 

Quote: Growing up, I never realised how significant the Remy Martin brand was to the world—for me, it was just where my mother worked

It is this deep sense of duty to preserve Remy Martin’s legacy that first drew Jacquet to leave an established career in finance and join her family’s business—a calling that has been passed down through the generations. 

“Growing up, I never realised how significant the Remy Martin brand was to the world—for me, it was just where my mother worked,” Jacquet explains from her office in Paris.

“It was only after talking to people about it that I realised how important it is to them. They had such knowledge about cognac and its history and I thought, ‘Wow, we have this legacy of being caretakers of this special brand and we [the next generation] have to make sure it carries on and has a long life’.”

A duty of care

As the great-granddaughter of Andre Renaud—a vineyard owner in Cognac and business partner of Remy Martin heir Paul-Emile Remy Martin—Jacquet is a descendant of Remy-Martin’s first non-family caretaker. Having no family of his own, in 1910, Remy Martin asked Renaud to carry on his family’s legacy.

Renaud duly obliged, overseeing a period of great growth and passing the business on to his son-in-law, Andre Heriard Dubreuil—Jacquet’s grandfather—in 1965 upon his death.

Le Domaine du Grollet - The Heriard Dubreuil family controls half of the shares of Remy Cointreau and family members sit on the board

It is Heriard Dubreuil’s children—Dominique, François, and Marc Heriard Dubreuil—who now run the company. All three had well-established careers outside the family business before being summoned to take over, with Dominique—Jacquet’s mother—first appointed as general manager in 1988 and then president in 1991.

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